Ilan Pappé: The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine

Ilan Pappé is one of Israel’s “new historians” whose scholarship and writings are based on access to material now available from British Mandate period and Israeli archives that provide the most accurate and authentic documented history of Israel before and after it became a state and which now serve to debunk the myths about the years leading up to the Jewish State’s founding and those following it to this day.

He proves from official records how the Israeli state came into being with blood on its hands from lands forcibly seized from its Palestinian inhabitants who’d lived on it for hundreds of years previously. Since the 1940s, they were ethnically cleansed and slaughtered without mercy so their homeland would become one for Jews alone.

The shameful result is that Palestinians then and today have almost no rights including being able to live in peace and security on their own land in their own state that no longer exists. Survivors then and their offspring either live in Israel as unwanted Arab citizens with few rights or in the Occupied Palestinians Territories (OPT) where their lives are suspended in limbo in an occupied country in which they’re subjected to daily institutionalised and codified racism and persecution. They have no power over their daily lives and live in a constant state of fear with good reason. They face economic strangulation; collective punishment for any reason; loss of free movement; enclosures by separation walls, electric fences and border closings; regular curfews, roadblocks, checkpoints, loss of their homes by bulldozing and crops and orchards by wanton destruction and seizure; arrest without cause, and routine subjection to torture while in custody.

They are targeted by extra-judicial assassination and indiscriminate killing; taxed punitively and denied basic services essential to life and well-being including health care, education, employment and even enough food and water at the whim of Israeli authorities in a deliberate effort to destroy their will to resist and eliminate those who won’t by expulsion or extermination. Palestinians have no power to end these appalling abuses and crimes against humanity or receive any redress for them in Israeli, the West or through the International Criminal Court Israel ignores when it rules against its interests.

Ilan Pappé documents how it all begins in 12 chapters with a short epilogue plus 18 graphic pictures needing no explanation. He calls the book his “J’Accuse against the politicians who devise the plan and the generals who carry out the ethnic cleansing” naming the guilty, the villages and urban areas destroyed, and the cruellest crimes committed against defenceless people only wanting to live in peace on their own land and were willing to do it with Jews as neighbours but not as overlords or oppressors.

 

Still relevant: Ilan Pappé, The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine. Oneworld Publications, 2006.


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